|Basel : visiting the city|
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The Rhine describes an elegant right-angled curve through the centre of Basel, flowing from east to north and dividing the city in two. On the south/west bank is Grossbasel (Greater Basel), focused on the historic Old Town. Glitzy shopping streets connect Barfüsserplatz and Marktplatz, the two main Old Town squares, while medieval charm is retained in the steep lanes leading off to either side, where you’ll find peaceful leafy courtyards surrounded by sixteenth-century townhouses, a host of medieval churches, and the majestic steepled Münster dominating the skyline from its lofty Rhineside terrace. The Old Town and surrounding districts comprise the main business, shopping and nightlife areas of the city. The university, off Petersgraben, overlooks the Old Town from the west, while the main Swiss and French train stations are about a kilometre south. On the north/east bank of the Rhine is down-to-earth Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel), more residential and less weightily historical than its neighbour, with some laidback nightlife and the German train station near the giant Messe conference centre some 500m east of Kleinbasel’s central Claraplatz.
The international border with France is on the west bank of the Rhine, about 2km north of the city centre; that with Germany is on the east bank, about 3km north.
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